Flores set to miss final
Chico Flores travelled to Dubai on Sunday for Swansea's pre-Capital One Cup final training camp knowing he is "very unlikely" to play any part in the Wembley showpiece after rupturing ankle ligaments.
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Saturday's comprehensive 4-1 win over QPR, courtesy of a Michu brace and strikes from Angel Rangel and Pablo Hernandez, should have sent Swansea to warmer climes in high spirits.
But manager Michael Laudrup's delight at the performance will be tempered by the loss of one of his first-choice centre-halves.
Flores, who has formed an excellent defensive partnership with Ashley Williams since arriving from Genoa in the summer, was stretchered off after just 34 minutes at the Liberty Stadium.
The Spaniard went down after stooping to make a low defensive header and required prolonged treatment. He was taken straight to hospital where a scan revealed the full extent of the damage.
"It's difficult at the moment to assess how long he will be out because we need the swelling to go down first," said Swansea's head physio Kate Rees. "But he is very unlikely to make the cup final."
The 25-year-old's injury hands a chance to Kyle Bartley or club captain Garry Monk, who will now battle it out for a place in the starting XI at Wembley.
The trip to Dubai is designed to remove the Swansea players from the hype and expectation in the city ahead of the club's first major final, as well as escaping a British winter to train with the sun on their backs.
Laudrup hopes his players will receive a mental boost ahead of the final, and next weekend's Premier League trip to face Liverpool at Anfield.
He said: "They will be able to relax. It has changed because we now have a game next Sunday at Liverpool instead of a weekend off.
"We could have cancelled it but the players need to be in different surroundings and train in shorts in 22 or 23 degrees, instead of two or three degrees.
"It makes a difference, it does not give you much physically but it does mentally.
"We could have gone next week but felt it was too close to the final."
QPR will also go to Dubai this week, but that is where the similarities between the two club's end.
Defeat, after a five-match unbeaten run, means Harry Redknapp's side remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table, six points from safety with 12 games remaining.
Redknapp had to do without Loic Remy as the France international failed to shake off a groin injury, while Bobby Zamora is playing with a hip injury which limits the striker to 45-minute cameos.
Adel Taarabt and Jamie Mackie took turns to try and lead the line against Swansea, but Redknapp knows his side desperately need goals, having failed to find the net more than once in a Premier League game since mid-December.
He said: "When we bring Bobby Zamora on we are a different team.
"He holds the ball up, he brings people into play, but he is only 50 per cent fit and can only play 45 minutes.
"But he is at a different level. He got us a goal and he makes a massive difference.
"He has had an operation on his hip and he seizes up, so you hope you can keep it tight until we can get him on the field.
"We need a fit Bobby Zamora. We need to score. I did not have Remy for this game, I could not start Zamora so we are short of strikers, which is why I tried to get (Peter) Odemwingie."